Back to Basics
After two weeks in the hospital where my primary activity was walking around dragging a 50 lbs infusion pole I had the opportunity to observe a lot of bodies in motion. Guess what? I think the visitors and hospital employees are at greater risk of being sick than the folks in the beds. We are creating a society of first world illnesses. Now this is not a novel or new idea. Folks have been talking about it for decades but just recently some people are beginning to open their eyes to this, but not, it seems, in the medical world.
The nature of the medical environment makes it virtually impossible for doctors, nurses, techs and support staff to take care of themself. They work ridiculously long hours, do repetitive movements, sit at uncomfortable desks (no stand up options available except for the rolling work stations) and they wear footwear that puts them at risk for less sensory input and therefore at risk for foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip and lower back pain and injury. It is frightening to think how many of them will end up patients in their own institutions.
Then there is the diet. Johns Hopkins did have a bit more variety to offer the public but still fast food is fast food. More than one doctor and the majority of the support staff indulged in Popeye’s fried chicken. Two of them bracket the hospital! Really folks?! I saw the same people again and again with horrible food choices and all I could think was, please let me cook for you. Let me take you to the garden or the farmers market. Now they may make better choices at home or bring in food most of the time but looking at the state of their health I doubt it. Again, I understand. We do what we were taught and brought up doing and we do what is easy. Path of least resistance is always taken first. If the rest of your life is filled with stress then you look for something else to comfort you or minimize the stress. Unfortunately this will lead to more stress than you can imagine and consequences we all think will never happen to us or on the flip side, “well everyone in my family has metabolic syndrome so I’ll get it too, its inevitable. What I do or eat won’t make a difference.” Wrong Wrong Wrong!!!!
What I’d like to suggest is simple changes. Sometimes it’s easier to add something in than to give something up. So here are a few ideas that might help you observe your habit patterns and deepen your awareness of your actions that impact not only your life but, your family and our economic community.
1) drink 1-3 cups of green tea a day
2) have some barefoot time, preferably outdoors but you’re your home inside, take off your shoes and give your feet some input.
3) Walk, every chance you get and point your feet forward or at least notice if you turn out like a dancer (and your not one!)
4) Get outside. Eat lunch out side. Go out for 10 mins a couple of times a day if you can. Search out green spaces near your work.
5) If you routinely buy premade food, try cooking something fresh at least one day a week. Bring your lunch to work. It takes some planning but it’s not that hard.
6) Take a tech break (after you read this of course) People are so attached to their phones they don’t see what’s around them. In the hospital this was a bit scary. Commit to taking the evening off or maybe think of it as adding screen free time in to your day. Because seriously you’re not in charge of the red button so if folks need to get in touch they will, but you need a break.
7) And last, begin a practice of gratitude. Before you go to sleep and before you get out of bed offer thanks for the things in your life. Even if you have a tube coming out of your stomach and a picc line in your arm find something to be grateful for. It will make things better, I promise.
Now go take a walk.